Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The single most important thing you can do for your Stress

I just watched this neat video about how we deal with stress. Basically the moral of the 11 minute story is that by re-framing how we think about situations, we can change them from stressors into useful information. There was also a bit about writing letters to yourself or others about stressful situations and then evaluating it without actually sending the letter to the offending parties. I think it was part of the "Cognitive Behavior" segment.

I've been thinking about writing a personal blog on one of my other favorite topics: Sex. More specifically, how it fits into marriage and healthy adult relationships. I don't want to post that stuff here, because it's quite important to separate sexual touch from therapeutic massage therapy and other healing modalities, which is what this blog is about. Sexual contact is completely outside the scope of legitimate massage therapy licensure and practice and will therefore be outside the scope of this blog, generally speaking.

Sex gives me constant stress and I have piles of letters to write to many people. By creating another blog, I'm going to turn this letter writing exercise into a journaling research exercise. I don't want to dwell on how I was wronged in the past, just where I am going from here...which is part of my personal healing process. Stress is bad and I need a plan on how to handle this major stress generator in my life, so that Tom can heal.

A Pain That I'm Used To

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sexual Tension

I watched a documentary the other night called Let's Talk About Sex. It basically spelled out many of my personal experiences with flawed sexual education and conflicting beliefs that were taught to me as an adolescent.

It's clear that Americans are sex obsessed and sexually repressed. I wonder how much stress comes out of that situation- the guilt, the shame, the frustration, the misunderstanding. Is that the stress that's actually killing us in the "75% of all doctor's visits are stress related" statistic from Sunset Relaxation Therapy?

The documentary maker, James Houston, consulted with several religious leaders in several parts of the US, regarding abstinence only education. This part was especially fascinating to me, having been raised in several churches at a time, from birth, and knowing that I've never been given ANY practical advice about sexuality. Don't have sex until you're married. That's it.

We had 8 parental figures (a divorced mom and dad each with their 4 respective new partners) and 4 grandparents at our wedding. Her Maternal Grandparents were the only married set- long time married but he is not the biological father of the 3 adult children. The Wife and I are the youngest of all cousins and siblings in our respective families. Needless to say, we had a wealth of experienced folks, matrimonially and sexually, at all stages of life and relationship. Did anybody have anything useful to say about how to work this sex type thing into our life, now that it wasn't going to send us straight to Hell? Nope.
Insert bitterness here _______.

 According to the American Psychological Association, "Marriage and divorce are both common experiences. In Western cultures, more than 90 percent of people marry by age 50. Healthy marriages are good for couples’ mental and physical health. They are also good for children; growing up in a happy home protects children from mental, physical, educational and social problems. However, about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher."

Softpedia says, regarding divorce and stress rates, "'Stress affects your immune system and leads to increased inflammation. We’re now thinking that inflammation is at the route of cardiovascular disease and certain kinds of cancer. In addition, during that time you’re not taking care of yourself. You’re eating poorly, you’re not exercising. You’re sleeping terribly. Then your social world, of course, especially in the case of divorce, suffers. You lose half your friends and your in-laws.' Professor Linda Waite, co-author of the study, says of what happens post-breakup/divorce." Furthermore, "What’s even worse, the findings of the study indicate, is that these health impacts do not go away when moving on to another relationship."

Aside from my personal angst about my personal life, I have a real concern for stress induced sickness from this huge source of daily, deeply rooted stress in so many American's lives. I believe that sex and marriage are unable to be examined separately and healing, in most cases, comes from education. As a nation our healthcare crisis, our marriage crisis, and our teen pregnancy crisis are thriving on ignorance and fear. If we can't figure out how to effectively and practically manage love and health, and how to effectively prepare our children for life's most complex and rewarding experiences, we're in trouble. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

You're a Good Audience

As we approach Father's Day, I found myself thinking about my Step-Dad today. When he married my Mom, he had four adult children. My sister and I were grade school age. I was the youngest of the six siblings. My Step-Dad has always been extremely outgoing in all situations. He's a people person and I'm the opposite- a shy, introverted, loner type of person. Those early years of getting to know my new dad figure were full of him trying to get me out of my shell.

To this day, his personable personality comes out constantly because he has decades of practice with certain puns, plays on words, jokes, and slick one liners. No waitress is safe. Being the youngest child, every joke was new to me and I always thought everything was funny every time. Dad constantly complimented me back handedly on being a "good audience" as opposed to saying I'd laugh at anything, no matter how silly and unsophisticated. For example, he uses the words "serious" and "cereal" interchangeably, to add levity to intense conversations.

After several of those intense conversations, while teaching me to drive, I went to the nearest Department of Motor Vehicles to get my very first Driver's License. With my Driver's Ed voucher in hand, I saw a poster on the wall opposite where they take the Driver's License photos. That poster had a really funny picture of a baby orangutan and it said, "If you want a better picture, bring a better face."

Sometimes it's good to do massage on clients who are buying what I'm selling. I like it when I actually connect with clients who need what I do and take some ownership of their bodies before, during and after the limited time I am with them. They are a good audience. They want a better massage, so they bring a better body. It takes way more time than I have with you to be a healthy, flexible, low stress person- I'm just here to point you in the right direction. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Down with the Sickness

After a string of uplifting posts about juicing veggies, I am saddened to say I got seriously ill one day this week- consequently messing up my "scientific" juicing spree. My 15 month old niece came into town this week for Memorial Day weekend. My sister had to stop several times during the trip and clean up lots of gross oozing from the baby, who was sick with some kind of stomach bug. The first 2 days of the weekend that I saw the baby, it was from across the room for less than 5 minutes. Hardly direct contact, because she was sleeping off the poo sickness.

On Monday, the family met at Grandmom's house to do some business which required some signatures from some of us, so we passed the baby around a bit to keep her occupied. The results were catastrophic! I think the count is up to 8 now of affected, infected people who were there that day. Typically, I have a very strong digestive tract. Top to bottom. I can eat way too much of really foolish foods and have little more than lethargy as a side effect. Tuesday and Wednesday, however, I set a new standard of gastric distress for myself. I drank my aforementioned beet, celery, carrot, cucumber juice, in hopes of alkalizing and calming my GI tract with nutritious, easily assimilated and high water content juices. Since the Wife had been sick the evening before I thought I was preparing myself. I was wrong.

The sickness acted like a severe but quick (24 hour) stomach virus. It could not have been food poisoning because so many of us ate totally different things due to very specific dietary restrictions and the timing of the baby having it several days ahead of us.

After a couple days now of nursing myself back to health with plenty of fluids to rehydrate (I lost a lot of fluids for about 24 hours in several not fun ways) and very light foods (spaghetti noodles and green peas), I slept through last night and am refreshed again. I intend to get back to my juicing regimen today before returning to work. I am also convinced that I need to be nicer to my tummy overall- again I'm thinking fresh raw vegetation. I bought some bananas, pears, and a watermelon yesterday to keep myself light for a few more days.

Thankfully, Sister and Baby are back home safely and over their respective bouts with the pestilence du jour. As Deolal Mahabir, my Zen Shiatsu instructor, stated during the class I took from him, "All sickness is home sickness." Meaning anyone in the family who is sick creates an imbalance in the greater family unit. Very true, in this case- even the smallest member of the family had a huge impact!

***check out the link to Deolal's bio, since I don't know what title to give him, because he has such diverse training in so many unconventional fields, over so much time. There are pictures of his lovely family too.